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Dominic Stricker becomes 3rd-youngest Swiss, after Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka, to win a Challenger title

Dominic Stricker after winning the boys
Dominic Stricker after winning the boys' singles final at the 2020 French Open
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Modified 29 Mar 2021
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18-year-old Dominic Stricker has become the third-youngest Swiss player to win an ATP Challenger title, following in the footsteps of his illustrious countrymen Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.

On Sunday, Stricker defeated Vitaliy Sachko 6-4 6-2 in the final of the ATP Lugano Challenger. That gave him his first title of any kind in the professional arena.

Ranked no. 874 in the world, Stricker needed a wild card to enter the tournament, in what was only his second ATP Challenger main draw appearance. The Swiss, who knocked out top seed Yuichi Sugita in the semifinals, will see his ranking climb inside the top 500 on Monday.

At 18 years and 7 months, Dominic Stricker is just a little older than what Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka were when they won their maiden Challenger titles.

Federer won his first in Brest, France back in 1999, at the age of 18 years and 2 months. Wawrinka meanwhile captured back-to-back ATP Challenger titles at the age of 18 years and 4 months - in San Benedetto and Geneva - in 2003.

Speaking after the win, Stricker admitted he had never expected to walk away with the title this week.

"I would have never thought that I could win the title," the teenager said. "I hoped to win one or two matches. This title means a lot to me and it will be a week that I will never forget. Winning on home soil in Lugano is just awesome. We are all very proud but we will continue to work hard in order to take a second title as soon as possible."

Dominic Stricker was one of the two highly touted Swiss juniors in the Lugano draw this week. 19-year-old Leandro Reidi also made his ATP Challenger debut at the event, winning his first-round before going down to Sugita.

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Last year, Stricker won the Roland Garros boys singles title - beating Reidi in a historic all-Swiss final.

Dominic Stricker practiced with Roger Federer in Dubai earlier this year

Dominic Stricker with Roger Federer (Image credit: Dominic Stricker
Dominic Stricker with Roger Federer (Image credit: Dominic Stricker's Instagram handle)

While it remains to be seen how Dominic Stricker's career unfolds in the coming years, the Swiss has spent a fair bit of time with Roger Federer. Earlier this year, Stricker spent part of the off-season practicing with the 20-time Major champion.

After his practice sessions with Roger Federer, Stricker revealed he was impressed with the 39-year-old's ability to switch from relaxed mode to focused mode in a matter of seconds.

"It is impressive to see how quickly Roger Federer switches," Stricker said. "He is relaxed during breaks, and as soon as he takes the racket again, he switches to training mode - then he is immediately very concentrated."
Published 28 Mar 2021, 22:49 IST
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